Haywire (Rated R)   Two Stars02-08-12-movie-review.jpg

Seeing as how Haywire (87 minutes) features a supposedly strong female lead, I really, really wanted to like it. But I didn’t. I thought it was improbable, poorly cast, badly acted, stupidly plotted and inanely written. Points for getting Michael Fassbender to star in your crappy movie Steven Soderbergh, but you get an F- for everything else. And Fassbender, you’re on notice. Star in one more crapfest and I’m not your girlfriend anymore.

The film opens in a good place, a clearly half-frozen woman, Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) eyes a roadside diner from a snowy wooded area, focusing particularly on the hot coffee offer in the sign. I feel you Mallory! She is cautious for some reason, but eventually heads in and orders something. Not too long after, a guy named Aaron (Channing Tatum, who is dumb and gross) walks in and orders some of that coffee.

This is when the movie lost me, as Mallory has possibly the most grating throaty tone I have ever heard coming out a woman’s mouth. It sounds affected and pretentious, and I hope at some point she gets a karate chop to the throat and can’t speak for the rest of the movie. So, like Itchy and Scratchy, after a few preliminaries Aaron and Mallory fight, and bite, and fight and bite and fight, involving all sorts of innocent bystanders in their ballet of combat. Given the options, I am not sure who to root for.

Mallory manages to extricate herself and grab a would-be knight in shiny armor’s car. Scott (Michael Angarano from Sky High) is surprisingly blasé about the whole thing, and way more helpful than I would be at this point in the discussion. What’s that? You’re on a black-ops mission for a company that is sending people to kill you and are now kidnapping me and stealing my car? Why, of course I will extract the bullet from your arm and dress your wound while you drive us to points unknown! Since you’re so pretty, there’s no way you’re an evil spy!

Now begins the super irritating narrative framing device that I am sure Soderbergh just felt so arty and clever for using. Mallory starts to tell Scott about a mission in Barcelona, quizzing him every few scenes on names and details like they actually matter. You know what would have been cool? If it turned out she was pulling a Keyser Soze, and the whole story was based on random stuff she found in stupid Scott’s stupid car? I really wish they had gone there

.It turns out that she is an ex-Marine, working as a subcontractor with her ex-boyfriend Kenneth’s (Ewan McGregor) company. Kenneth was hired by a government agent, Coblenz (Michael Douglas) and some other character, Rodrigo (Antonio Banderas), to rescue a guy named Jiang (Anthony Brandon Wong) from Barcelona. The next part of the story involves Mallory getting yet another assignment, working with British Intelligence. Her contact, Paul (Michael Fassbender) meets her in Dublin, and spews sexist comments at her for a while.

Rightfully suspicious, she figures out that some kind of double-cross is in the works and starts beating people up and running around Dublin. She runs for a really long time, and then contacts Coblenz to set up a meet with Kenneth. Which should totally work, because of all the people who might have been involved in the set-up, I am totally sure that guy who part of your last mission that you now know caused all the trouble is com-pletely trustworthy.

That brings us back to the beginning of the movie, and, lucky for Scott, Mallory sends him on his way and heads out to meet her Pop (Bill Paxton). The two set up an ambush that is both elaborate and stupid, which should not work, but which does thankfully speed up progress towards the climax a bit. Overall, I have never sat through a lon-ger 87 minutes in my life. View at your own risk.

Now showing at Wynnsong 7, Carmike 12 and Carmike Market Fair 15.

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